Green Bay, Wis. – This is a family member mark was Let them come into the house only when it is cold outside.
Not to mention names – oops, it doesn’t have one – but it’s over 6½ feet tall, barely fits through doorways, is undeniably heavy, has been known to corner messes and to be Reputation is a little thorn in his wife’s side.
Still, I couldn’t love that grapevine more.
He was in second grade when he and his mother sowed a seed from half of a grapefruit that morning for breakfast. Not only did it sprout, but 61 years later, the tree it grew into is still with him.
It spent the first 20 years in its parents’ house, from plastic pots to whiskey barrels. When he got his own apartment, he moved in with her, and for the past 30 years, the Home Sweet Home has been wife Linda Gendrich’s home in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where it’s officially part of the family.
It stays outside on a patio in the summer and winds through it toppling over, deer sampling its leaves and squirrels using their pots to bury treasure. In the fall, it rides out the Wisconsin winter in the southeast corner of the house with a view of the window and grow lights for “a little oomph.”
Climate change: What are the effects of climate change? Disasters, weather and agricultural impact.
Bird: Birds of a feather… flying together? Here’s how birds stay warm amid the frigid temperatures of winter.
‘I don’t know how my parents did it’
Planting a nearly 100-pound tree indoors and out again is plenty of biennial production.
It can grow up to a foot during the summer, so it is usually pruned back in the fall to reduce its size. It is then wrapped in blankets and tied with bungee cords and twine to reign in the branches to better navigate it through the door. It took him, Gendrich and a neighbor to wrestle it out, and even then one or the other wall still gets scratched or pricked by its sizable thorns.
“I don’t know how my parents did it for the first 20 years,” was said. No more needed.’”
Gendrich has been known to share that sentiment at times, but despite his pleas to “get rid of the thing”, the tree is still going strong.
It’s root-bound, but about every three years they take it out of the pot, cut back the roots, give it fresh soil, and watch it flourish as summer temperatures arrive. As Vas’s mother told him all those years ago: “Water and sunlight, and it will thrive.”
‘I can’t get rid of it. I can’t now.’
When a spider mite outbreak struck about 10 years ago, things were going a little haywire, but advice from friend and nationally known horticulturist Melinda Myers and the staff at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes got it under control. took.
“Unfortunately, it has never borne any fruit, and I don’t know why,” said Vas, who had long given up hope that it ever would. “At 61, it’s past its peak—like me.”
What it lacks in breakfast table offerings, it makes up for as a conversation piece. At every Christmas party, birthday party, and patio picnic, it never fails to get people talking. When visitors could not believe it was a grapefruit tree, they would break off a leaf to rub between their fingers so that they could smell the lemon scent.
There was a time when he considered donating it to the Domes, where it could live out its golden years in a spacious and tasteful year-round home surrounded by tropical friends and no more stressful seasonal moves.
“But I can’t do it. It’s part of my childhood,” he said. “I can’t get rid of it. I can’t now.
A small piece of his mother is growing with that tree. It brings back memories of sitting at the table picking peppers and tomatoes in January and February, flipping through plant catalogs that she started from seed.
He is the love in this labor of love. She’s pretty sure that every fall and spring when it’s time to move the tree, she’s looking down and laughing at herself.
Kendra Meinert is an entertainment and features writer at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. contact him at 920-431-8347 or [email protected], follow him on twitter @KendraMeinert,